I Wanna Hold Your Hand

(Update below)

I almost missed out on the most precious moments of my day today. My sister called this afternoon to let me know my grandpa is not doing well. He is in his 90’s, in failing health, and recently broke his hip. My sister said he was sleeping, unaware of visitors, and might not make it through the night.

My first inclination was not to go to the nursing home to see him. He wasn’t even aware and would not really know whether I was there or not. And with our big family, I knew he’d had a steady stream of visitors that day. But I was afraid if I didn’t go, I would regret it.

So, bringing my youngest and my oldest daughters, I went. Two of my sisters were already there with their families. Four grandkids and 6 great-grandkids filled the room with breath and life. Gramps lay asleep. I went and sat next to him. He stirred a little at my voice, but I didn’t want to disturb him. So I just sat and held his hand.

I’m not great with tears and emotion. I’d rather keep that private. Today my sisters didn’t seem eager to get weepy either. We chatted resolutely about normal things. All the while, I held my grandpa’s hand, feeling more aware of that than of anything else in the room. I was so glad to be there, holding onto him while I could.

When it came time to go, I asked the grandkids if they would help me sing Jesus Loves Me to Gramps, and so we did. One verse and then another. The kids sang cheerily. The grownups in the room were singing too, tearing up, trying not to fall apart, telling Gramps of God’s love, and, implicitly, of our love for him as well.

I gave Gramps one last hug. Then another, telling him I loved him one more time. Then it was time to leave.

As my daughters and I were walking out of the nursing home, just by the exit, a confused little lady sat in a wheelchair, asking over and over in a querulous voice, “Where am I going? Where am I going?”

Still trying to recover from the emotion that was clutching at my throat, I found myself giggling. “I’ve asked that question a time or two myself,” I told my daughter, laughing.

But that ‘where am I going?’ comment stuck in my head. My grandpa is on his last journey. And, praise God, we know we’ll see him in heaven some day. Do you know where you’re going? Be sure. And use the precious moments between now and then to hold someone’s hand whenever you get the chance.


Update: My grandfather went to heaven just a few hours later, on the morning of his 94th birthday.


  1. The little sister :) says:

    Gramps is a precious person, and I'm so excited for him to be able to be with Jesus soon. How wonderful that he will be able to walk and run around the beautiful throne of grace, singing the songs of praise that he's been singing for the last 94 years. I've been thanking God all day today that we have such an amazing heritage in him and in the daughter that he raised to be our mommy 🙂

  2. I'm glad you and your daughters got to be with your Grandfather.

    Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15

  3. It is good that you got to go see him and your post was written beautifully.

  4. I'm glad you made the decision to go. It sounds like it was a special time with you Grandpa.

  5. First of all, that picture is absolutely priceless!!!! And you always seem to have me laughing or tears welling up in my eyes!!! It brought me back to the last time I saw my Grandpa….at the nursing home….he wasn't aware of us being there…but it was his first introduction to my soon to be husband (at the time). I was SO thankful that Jason got to meet him even though getting to the nursing home was not the most convenient trip that day! I had just flew to TX from Austria where Jason picked me up from the airport so we could DRIVE to Minneapolis, MN! I was exhausted and not prepared for the long drive or an emotional visit to see Grandpa. But I'm SO glad we went because Granpa went to be with Jesus just 2 days later!!! I'm so glad you went too!!! And I hope that little lady, though doesn't seem to be quite coherent, knows in her heart where she is going!!!!

  6. What a wonderful, heartfelt message.
    I pray for peace, clarity and enduring love over all of you.

  7. Beautiful!

  8. My condolences to you and your family. How precious it is to have a grandpa who loved the Lord. I pray that you will have comfort and even joy as you remember him in the days and weeks to come.

  9. Sometimes all we need is for someone to hold our hand. Glad you could be with him.

  10. What a wonderful final memory you have of your grandpa. I know it is tough. I lost my final grandparent last year. She was also 94. There is a great peace in knowing you will be with them again.

    Praying for you.

  11. Whenever I lose a loved one, it makes me feel just a little closer to Jesus. Knowing that someone I knew – my own blood – is now worshiping in the presence of our Lord.

    My prayers are with you.

  12. I know you'll miss your grandpa, but I'm so glad you got to hold his hand again. You went with your heart and I know your grandpa felt your love. *hugs*

  13. What a sweet story! Glad you commented on my blog, so I could follow you back here!

  14. So sad and so beautiful. Isn't it wonderful when you know you'll see someone again though? My Great Aunt just passed away. She and my grandpa were very close, so she was like another grandma.
    My Tuesday Treasure is up (It's a picture too!)

  15. Mary and family,

    I am so glad you got to say your goodbyes, and most importantly, that you told your Grandpa one more time that you loved him. I just lost my Mama and Daddy both, less than 4 months apart, but like your Grandpa, they were both Christians, and I know I will see them soon at that Great Homecoming.

    It's a sad time, and a joyful occasion, too, knowing that the angels are rejoicing over one more saint who has come Home. May God bless you all and comfort your hearts is my prayer.

  16. Anonymous says:

    i'm so glad you got to say good bye one last time. thank you for sharing your story. and thank you for reminding us to cherish every moment. you write beautifully…

  17. Thanks, everyone, for the prayers and good wishes. I appreciate it. And Lena, sorry to hear about both your parents passing. That must be tough…

  18. I'm glad you guys were there with Gramps. I wish I'd have been there too, but it makes me happy to know that he wasn't alone.